Reg. No. A0030085Y

Web Site http://home.vicnet.net.au/~buninhis


Our next meeting will take place next Thursday, 20 June, at 8.00 p.m., at the Court House History Centre. At the conclusion of the business meeting, our guest speaker will be Lorraine Huddle, Ballarat’s Heritage Adviser, who will speak about the current Ballarat Heritage Study, and its relevance to Buninyong. Supper to follow.


UNION JACK CREEK After years of debate, Ballarat City Council has finally approved the changing of the name ‘Buninyong Creek’ to ‘Union Jack Creek’. It has been approved by the Registrar of Geographic Names. The signs will change soon.

BUNINET. On 10 May 2002 a large crowd gathered at the Uniting Church Hall for the launch of Buninet by State Treasurer John Brumby. This was an initiative of the Uniting Church, to bring the latest in Information Technology to our citizens. The Coxall Room has been equipped with computers, printers and scanners and Internet access, and provides training at low cost. One of the first students is our own Past-President, Derick Leather and his wife Shirley. Buninet also offers low-cost public assess on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings.

UNITING CHURCH MANSE. It was many years ago when the then Presbyterian Church sold its Manse in Buninyong, as did the Methodist Church. Since the formation of the Uniting Church in the 1970s, Buninyong’s minister has lived in Sebastopol. So it was an exciting moment for the local community when the Reverend Noel Nicholls moved her residence back into Buninyong, and she was welcomed by the congregation and the Moderator of the Uniting Church, Alistair Macrae, at a luncheon on 10 May, following the launch of Buninet.

BUILDING BOOM. Buninyong is one of the fastest growing areas in the Ballarat region. Just take a drive up to the Brim Brim area, and discover the Real Estate Agent’s Brim Brim Rise Estate, with large and ostentatious new residences impinging on the once natural skyline of this area.

In marked contrast to these derivative new estates is the home of Mick and Megan Poulton, nestled into the valley below St. Peter and Paul’s Church and the upper Gong. This is a house that proclaims its modernity, designed by Mick’s brother, who is an architect. Sensitive to the landscape, the owners wanted a house that respected the land and the volcanic rock which is a feature of the area. Thus the new house features a beautifully constructed stone chimney, and water plays a central element in the design. It will become one of Buninyong’s notable residences. Mick is a lecturer at the University of Ballarat. He studied Physical Education at the University, and now lectures in that area. He is a member of the Friends of the Buninyong Gardens, who hold working bees to take care of this valuable asset.

NEW MEMBERS Welcome to Tom McNeilly and Julie Marginson of Durham Lead, our newest members. Also to Ron Delaney, who works for the CFA and has been drafted to assist Beth Ritchie and Liz Lumsden with their Buninyong 2002 Project.

BUNINYONG 2002 - This is President Beth Ritchie’s special project, to record local identities, capturing a snapshot of their daily life in word and picture. Beth, Liz Lumsdon and photographer Grant Jansen have been visiting our business houses and selected local citizens, asking them about their life in Buninyong. The team is building up a fascinating snapshot of our community in 2002. They have recorded the last days of Tony and Pauline Corcoran at the Post Office, the Newsagency, Ward’s Supermarket, the Nicholls family and the Lillas family, to name a few.

Whilst cataloguing photos, we discussed the importance of Beth’s project in describing our townscape at a particular point in time. The following photo of the main intersection of Buninyong, taken sometime in the late 19th Century (Wyatt’s had the hotel from 1869 until the end of the century) shows some interesting differences in the corner shop, indicating that it must have been rebuilt after this photo was taken.


Warrenheip St, late 19th Century, from the Buninyong and District Historical Society Collection.

PHOTOS Keith Rowgay, who operates the feed store in the old Newman chemist shop in Warrenheip St., recently had a visit from a member of the Middleton family, who used to operate an ironmongery from this location in the 1920s. The visitor had some box brownie photos of the shop and associated house and five petrol bowsers on the footpath, and members of the Middleton family. Quick-thinking Keith asked if he could copy the photos, and finding no scanner available in the township, closed his shop and went home to Napoleons to copy the photos on his own scanner. Keith is kindly giving us digital copies.

Another interesting photo came to us thanks to Dave Evans of the Ballarat Historical Society. It is a beautiful photo of the Buninyong Shire’s first steam roller, which was probably purchased at the direction of Shire Engineer C.C. P. Wilson in 1915. It was originally oil driven, then converted to steam power in 1917.

Thanks to our member Bob Skewes, who lives near Torquay, we have identification of a number of the people in the 1933 photo of the opening of the Buninyong Methodist Parsonage. Bob has sent a copy of the photo marked with arrows pointing to the people he can identify, including members of the Watkins, Porter, Poynton, Middleton, Eldridge, Hunter and Skewes famlies. We will put Bob’s work on the notice board for discussion at the next meeting. He also sent copies of the Buninyong Methodist Young Men’s Monthly Review, published in 1933. These provide a fascinating glimpse into social life and business activities in Buninyong during the Depression.

BUNINYONG RAILWAY LINE Neville Gower recently sent us a set of recent photos taken by him, identifying the present state of the Buninyong Line. This is extremely valuable because of Neville’s meticulous notes. He also sent a copy of his address to our Society in 1984, when he was a guest speaker about the railway line. We are very grateful for Neville’s long-standing interest in documenting the history of the line.


We receive many enquiries via the Internet. Sometimes more than one person will be researching the same name, and then there is the opportunity to put family members from different parts of Australia in touch.

BUCKLE/LORENSINI/DEERING – Graeme Wilson contacted us early this year about these families from the Scotsburn area. Later we were contacted by Lis Connor of Deniquilan, who is also interested in these families, and also in the name COLEMAN/BOND. Peter McKenzie is also researching the BUCKLE/McKENZIE family.

COLEMAN. Carol Battishall of Sydney has been researching George Coleman (of Coleman’s Springs fame) for some time, and has supplied us with valuable information.

RICHES, Robert – He and wife Jane had a baby in Buninyong in 1857. A request came from Strathalbyn in South Australia.

BOURNES, Benjamin – was born in Buninyong circa 1850, and married Elizabeth West in 1868. G. Thomas of Lara is researching this person.

McEWAN, John and Margaret Donald. They had a daughter born at Steiglitz in 1859, and a daughter born at Buninyong in 1866. Barbara Mann is looking for information.

McGEE Family – Stephen and Margaret were living in Buninyong from 1856. Paula McCarthy is seeking information.

WATSON, Charles Marriott. Charles, a solicitor born in Tasmania, purchased ‘Brim Brim’ in 1879 and lived there till 1884. He was a noted sportsman and a champion chess player. His descendant in Canberra recently contacted us.

TYE – Daniel and Eliza Tye had children born in the area in the late 1850s. Maureen Donwen from New Zealand is seeking information.

If you can help with any of these requests, please contact us at the above address.


Caroline Chisholm, the Emigrant’s Friend, had been much preoccupied with bringing young women to Australia, and promoting the movement of women and children to the goldfields to create a normal society.

In 1857 two young single women gained employment near Buninyong. Ann Price and Sophia Oakley were engaged as housemaids by the owner of the Casino at Union Jack Lead. On 18 March the two women appeared at the Buninyong Court, charging their employer with ill-using and ill-treating them. The sensational case was fully reported in the Ballarat Times of 20 March and the Ballarat Weekly Times on 27 March 1857. The owner, Charles Myers and his wife changed the terms of employment under the Master and Servants Act by asking the girls to dance with patrons. The women testified that the Casino had 8 rooms, with dancing at 9.00 p.m. The young ‘unprotected females’ left the Casino and sought refuge at the Nugget Hotel, operated by W.B. Smith.

The magistrate found Myers guilty of ill-using the young women and operating a ‘disorderly house’. Myers was made to pay costs.

The case is interesting in the context of the 1850s. The two women were obviously shocked at the situation they found themselves in, when their duties turned out to very different from their contract. Their integrity was vindicated by the court, which found in favour of the women.


18 April 2002 – Bi-Monthly Meeting, Guest Speaker Anne Beggs Sunter on Myths of Eureka

20 June 2002 – Bi-Monthly Meeting. Guest Speaker Lorraine Huddle on Ballarat’s Heritage Study.

15 August 2002 – Bi-Monthly Meeting – Guest Speaker Erica Nathan on Moorabool River.

17 October 2002 – AGM.

26-7 October (Sat-Sun) - CHHA Local and Family History Expo, Aquinas Campus, Mair St, Ballarat;

November – Excursion to Dolly’s Creek.

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